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2/7/2013
11:42 AM
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Barracuda Issues Security Update, Apologizes To Customers

Security appliance manufacturer apologizes for leaving hardcoded, undocumented accounts in its products.

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Barracuda Networks Monday issued a product update designed to address some of the security vulnerabilities that have been identified in some of its appliances, as well as a mea culpa for building hardcoded, undocumented backdoors into its products.

"I regret now some of the choices we made and apologize to our customers and partners who feel misled or deceived by the way it was implemented," said Zach Levow, CTO of Barracuda Neworks, in a blog post. "I assure you we are working day and night to make further changes that integrate the feedback and expectations you have shared with us."

The security warning that hardcoded -- and undocumented -- backdoor accounts exist in multiple Barracuda Networks appliances was issued Jan. 24 by Austria-based information security consultancy SEC Consult.

Levow confirmed the security vulnerabilities identified by SEC Consult, which involved two specific problems. "The first concern was an access point that could allow Barracuda's Technical Support department access to Barracuda appliances without explicit permission from the appliance administrator," he said. "The second concern was an access point that could allow access by a non-Barracuda employee."

[ How secure is your iPhone? Read iPhone Security Unbreakable? Security Gurus Disagree. ]

Appliances affected by the vulnerabilities include the Barracuda Spam & Virus Firewall, Barracuda Web Filter, Barracuda Message Archiver, Barracuda SSL VPN, Barracuda Web Application Firewall version 7.6.4 and earlier, and CudaTel appliances. Despite some prior reports to the contrary, the company said the following products aren't vulnerable to any of the disclosed vulnerabilities: Barracuda Backup, Barracuda NG Firewall, Barracuda Firewall, Barracuda Load Balancer, Barracuda Link Balancer, and Barracuda Web Application Firewall (versions 7.7 and later).

To address the vulnerabilities, Barracuda Networks Monday released an update, Security Definition 2.0.7, that disables access to the devices, except from Barracuda's own IP addresses. A previous Security Definition, 2.0.5, was released in coordination with SEC Consult's security warning, and disabled "all remote access to non-essential accounts," said Levow.

Those updates have only partially mitigated the unauthorized access vulnerability, because they still leave some hardcoded accounts on the appliances for support purposes. Furthermore, Barracuda's current approach to support requires that customers who deploy appliances behind a firewall, but have difficulty configuring the appliance, must then move the appliance to a public IP address, so that Barracuda can remotely troubleshoot the device's configuration. That, however, leaves the appliances vulnerable to unauthorized, remote access.

Barracuda is still trying to find a better approach. "Because we have not had any incidents reported or detected due to these reported vulnerabilities, we do not want to rush changes that could make the situation worse for our customers," said Levow. He said the security vulnerabilities highlight the struggle vendors face "to best balance the need for security with the need to provide the highest level and fastest support to our customers."

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Drew Conry-Murray
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Drew Conry-Murray,
User Rank: Ninja
2/8/2013 | 1:54:28 AM
re: Barracuda Issues Security Update, Apologizes To Customers
When security vendors make a mistake, I think it's the right move to 'fess up right away and get a fix out to customers as quickly as possible. Yes, it's embarassing, but in the long run you'll be better off instead of trying to obsfuscate or drag your feet.

Drew Conry-Murray
Editor, Network Computing
macker490
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macker490,
User Rank: Ninja
2/10/2013 | 3:42:31 PM
re: Barracuda Issues Security Update, Apologizes To Customers
...left hard coded accounts"
?

an absolute beginners' mistake
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